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October 26, 2021
A group of Canadian anti-vaccine protesters threw gravel at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a campaign stop in Ontario on Monday.
As the Canadian federal election approaches on September 20, stakes and emotions are high on the campaign trail. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at a campaign event in London, Ontario earlier this week, he was met by an angry crowd protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The protesters picked up handfuls of gravel and tossed it at Trudeau as he attempted to board his campaign bus after the event, held at a brewery. Trudeau brushed off the incident saying some gravel “might have” pelted his shoulders and it was “no big deal.”
The incident is not the first during this election to meet with high tension. Another of Trudeau’s campaign events was canceled last week because angry protesters had gathered at the event site ahead of his arrival. Out of concern for the protesters and counterprotesers’ safety, the event was called off.
After the canceled stop, Trudeau spoke to reporters and acknowledged the pandemic has been hard on everyone, saying, “We all had a difficult year…Those folks out protesting, they had a difficult year, too, and I know and I hear the anger, the frustration, perhaps the fear.” Trudeau added, “We need to meet that anger with compassion.”
The election is happening two years early after Trudeau called an early vote, to the surprise of many. His explanation to the public is that the pandemic has changed Canada and the citizens should choose who they want to govern them during this time.
Some have criticized the decision to hold an early election, accusing Trudeau of attempting to sway public opinion on his handling of the virus. The election has become more heated in recent weeks, with some candidates’ campaign signs being defaced with antisemetic graffiti last month, and several candidates being the targets of racial and sexist slurs.
Trudeau has downplayed these attacks, telling reporters after the graffiti incident, “There is a small fringe element in this country that is angry, that doesn’t believe in science, that is lashing out with racist, misogynistic attacks. Canadians, the vast majority of Canadians are not represented by them. And I know [they] will not allow those voices…those anti-vaxxer mobs, to dictate how this country gets through this pandemic.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ALJAZEERA